The Critters That May Cause Rosacea

Our face is home to a whole ecosystem of microscopic creatures! These critters are mostly harmless. In fact, they are actually quite helpful – generally speaking their job is to eat dead skin cells, helping to rid the face of waste.

However, a growing body of medical research is pointing to abnormally high levels of Demodex mites as playing a role in causing or triggering rosacea.

If you're looking for an all-natural solution to rosacea-prone skin, our answer is Atopis Radiant Balance Cream. Scientifically formulated for rosacea-prone skin, this therapy cream reduces redness and inflammation by balancing the skin's microflora, evening out your complexion.

Keep scrolling for more on Demodex Mites and their link to rosacea.

What is rosacea?

Rosacea is a chronic, common inflammatory skin condition that presents as redness of the face. 

Diagnosing Rosacea cannot be done through a medical test, however they can be used to rule out other skin conditions and narrow down on rosacea.

The skin condition is most often developed in fair-skinned, blonde and blue-eyed women between the ages of 30-50 years. Those with Celtic or Scandinavian backgrounds also heightens risk of rosacea. A genetic history of acne and rosacea also contributes to the possibility of developing it.

Males can also develop rosacea, but often have more severe exterior symptoms.

There are four main rosacea subtypes which present different symptoms. Learn more about the types of rosacea.

What causes rosacea?

While the exact cause of rosacea is unknown, researchers have identified some numerous causes such as genetics, a dysfunctional immune system, bacterial imbalance, a defective peptide, and the new research on naturally occurring mites on the skin. 

The critter culprits

We all have an ecosystem made up of bacteria on our skin, this is what contributes to our unique microflora.

Two new fields of research have opened up into the links of Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori) bacteria and Demodex mites playing a major role in the development and vicious cycle of rosacea skin. Mounting research suggesting that H. Pylori and Demodex can cause and trigger rosacea has encouraged more research to be conducted in understanding how these interplay with finding a cure.

The bacterial imbalance

H.pylori is a common group of bacteria found in our gut that may play a role in triggering and treating rosacea. 

When H.pylori are prevalent, levels of the hormone gastrin can increase, which causes an imbalance in acid regulation. This can lead to the flushing on the skin we see so often with rosacea.
When treated for H.pylori overabundance, rosacea sufferers experienced a reduction in symptoms, with papulopustular rosacea sufferers noticing the greater positive effects in remission.

As rosacea is a multi-triggered disease it’s possible H. pylori imbalance plays a significant role in aggravating rosacea.

Gastrointestinal symptoms are commonly present when there are high levels of H.pylori. These symptoms include stomach inflammation and ulcers as well as irritable bowel syndrome.

There are many links between bowel imbalances and skin issues, so assessing and improving gut health often helps with skin condition management. Learn more about the link between your gut and skin health here.

Demodex mites

Demodex mites are naturally occurring on the skin. There are two types; Demodex folliculorum that live in hair follicles, commonly on the face, and in the meibomian glands of the eyelids; and Demodex brevis that live in the sebaceous (oil) glands on the skin. 

An overabundance of demodex critters on the skin can aggravate the skin to show rosacea-like symptoms. Mounting research suggests that those with rosacea carry more demodex than a person without rosacea, and they are found in the regions that rosacea flares up.

Mites can be found inside pustules (small fluid-filled bumps on the skin) and papules (skin lesions) on the skin further disrupting the skin, or for some causing the skin to develop rosacea.

The peptide link

Rosacea sufferers experience a faulty peptide called the cathelicidin peptide; this is responsible for controlling blood flow and inhibiting bad bacteria.

The peptide for rosacea sufferers is present at much higher concentrations and has a different molecular structure, making it no longer function normally. It causes rosacea’s trademark bright red cheeks as well as sensitive skin.

The sensitive skin is in a hyper-reactive state so it is more affected by sun, food, drink, and temperature. These cause flare-ups of redness, swelling and even pain.

The faulty peptide also means that the Demodex mites have a better chance of attacking the skin, as it isn’t properly protected.

The mites and their bacteria then further aggravate the sensitive skin and trigger the immune system to overreact - and a vicious cycle of rosacea skin is perpetuated.

Gain control over rosacea skin

It’s important to understand that the different types of rosacea are not caused by a single issue but actually a combination of gut microbial imbalance, skin microflora, Demodex mites and potentially a genetic defect in the peptide cathelicidin

While there is no known cure for rosacea, and researchers can’t put their finger on the exact cause - we have a few tips on how you can manage it.

  • Food: Starting with diet. Many believe that starting with the gut has promising affects on rosacea. Cutting out dairy, alcohol, spicy foods, and junk foods works for most people with rosacea. These foods are all known to affect H. pylori population numbers. Keeping a journal on food can help link you to what can trigger rosacea for yourself.
  • Weather: Protect the skin from harsh weather such as direct sun and cool winds. Sunscreen is very important especially in summer when UV is stronger, and in winter a scarf can lighten the impact the cold has.
  • Moisturise: Keep the skin hydrated by moisturising daily.
  • Prescription: Topical steroids work in the short-term but long-term use triggers steroid rosacea. Meaning, steroids pull you into a harsh life-long cycle. If you are to use them, then it is best to do so only for a short-term to calm the flare-up.
  • Skincare: A good skincare product for rosacea should work with your sensitive skin and enhance the skin health. Bringing in skincare that can deal with the faulty peptide, offer skin repair and protection can significantly improve day-to-day quality of life.

Our skincare solution to rosacea-prone skin, Atopis Radiant Balance, works by inhibiting the bad bacteria on your skin. The therapy cream is prebiotic - supporting your good bacteria, calming redness and inflammation and works with the immune system to control its hypersensitive overreaction to the environment.

Radiant Balance contains an equivalent peptide to normal functioning cathelicidin, meaning that the faulty peptide in rosacea skin can function normally again. When repairing this peptide, the redness associated with rosacea is reduced.

Hormonal Acne & Mature Skin Breakouts? Here's Why.

Both men and women are consistently asking: “Where am I going wrong?” so I decided to shed some light on the acne-creating cycle we can all get caught up in.

Once you understand what’s causing your breakouts, you can start changing your habits, and clear up your skin.

If you're looking for a Hormonal Acne solution - we've created the Atopis Radiant Skin Bundle - our 4 products work in perfect synergy to give you a clear and hormonally balanced complexion.

First, What Causes Acne?

Short on time? Here's a 30-second intro video on What Causes Acne.


We've done a whole blog post on What Causes Acne - but for now, it's important to remember there are 3 main causes of Acne:

1. Hormones

One of the biggest culprits of acne is fluctuations in your hormones (which is what we'll be talking about today).

Across a variety of ages, hormones and hormonal imbalances can lead to detrimental effects on our skin. Read more about how your acne can vary as you age here.

For women, acne usually appears in the later stages of the menstrual cycle, so a week before or even during your period.

It can also appear after starting a new form of birth control, hormone replacement therapy through menopause, or as a result of fluctuating hormones and conditions such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

Androgens (male sex hormones) can fluctuate in level when compounded with stress, fatigue and lack of skin care.

Androgens are the worst perpetrators for causing bad skin because they stimulate the growth of the sebaceous glands and increase sebum levels, making skin oily and causing severe congestion (known as hyperkeratinization).

This condition means dead skin cells don’t slough off naturally and instead clog the skin’s pores.

Cue the entry of bacteria and acne appears as the star of the show.

2. Lifestyle

Though less of a factor than genetics and hormones, your lifestyle can certainly be reflected in your skin.

Poor cleansing (or over cleansing), dehydration, stress, smoking, poor diet and abrasive product use can all be detrimental to your skin.

3. Genetic Makeup

Studies suggest that you’re more likely to struggle with breakouts if your direct relatives have suffered from acne.

Skin types are passed down through your genes and play a key part in how your skin responds to your hormones and how well it deals with sebum (oil), bacteria, anti-inflammatory properties and the regeneration of skin cells.

4 Stages of Hormonal Acne Development:

1. Hormonal Changes

When increases in testosterone or estrogen occur, this increases the production of sebum (oily or waxy matter that lubricates and waterproofs the skin and hair) at the base of the hair follicle.

Over-cleaning the skin, over-exfoliation, or use of astringent cleansers can also lead to the sebum gland overproducing sebum as these actions send the wrong message to the skin that its over dry.

Unlike teenage skin, where cells are being actively renewed causing the greasy appearance due to the increased sebum, with dry, mature skin, the sebum gland produces too much sebum to compensate for the skin’s dryness.

2. Blockage

Too much sebum results in the hair follicle becoming blocked (clogged pores).

Excessive cleaning of the blocked pores then causes the sebum gland to produce more sebum and the pores block again.

This means gentle cleaning is critical.

3. Over-cleaning

Over-cleaned skin and pores blocked with sebum unbalance your skin’s microflora (your unique mix of good and bad bacteria) as the bad bacteria is fed by the sebum.

This results in what is effectively skin infection.

4. Immune system reaction

The immune system then reacts to the bacteria imbalance and tries to counter the bad bacteria by turning on defense pathways, which can result in an allergenic response on the skin’s surface and pimples appear.

If infection worsens, then a full-blown immune system response occurs and the skin becomes inflamed, hair follicles are blocked, the site contains pus and the sebum gland produces even more sebum creating a severe outbreak.


Why Antibiotics Don’t Work for Hormonal Acne Long Term:

Some of you might have been prescribed antibiotics to kill the acne-creating bacteria, but this also kills the good bacteria, leaving the acne sufferer with no defense against the next bacterial attack.

On top of this, the use of alcohol-based astringents open the pores, clear the blockage but leave the skin dry and inflame pores.

This can take you frustratingly back to step one of the acne cycle.

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Break Out of the Hormonal Acne Cycle with Atopis Radiant Balance Cream:

Atopis Radiant Skin Bundle gives you 4 products, including the Acne Prone Skin Cream and The Radiant Balance Cream, that all work in synergy to balance the skin's response to hormonal fluctuations.

These 4 products create a skincare routine that cleanses, clears, moisturizes, and tones the skin, so you can say goodbye to hormonal acne, and hello to healthy and glowing skin!

When choosing your skin care products, we highly recommend sticking to natural and non-abrasive products - rather than harsh antibiotics.

Based on award-winning international research and successful clinical trials, Dr. Iona Weir has formulated safe, natural products to help unlock the skin’s own immunity and assist self-repair.

Meanwhile, the probiotic peptides in Atopis, work to restore your skin’s friendly bacteria microbiome, just like probiotics in the gut.

Learn more about the Atopis Radiant Skin Bundle

Learn More About The Radiant Skin Bundle

The 7 Types of Eczema

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding what causes eczema, and in particular atopic dermatitis, which is actually a subcategory of eczema. There are seven different types of eczema, which each have unique triggers and causes. Understanding this is critical to treating your eczema skin condition.

Looking for instant eczema relief? Our Dry Itchy Skin Cream has been made specially to combat the symptoms of skin conditions, including eczema. Our steroid-free cream works from below, balancing immune responses to relieve and repair your skin in the long-run.

Eczema – the genetic link

Eczema is not an allergic reaction as generally believed, nor is it due to diet, but in fact, it is caused by a lack of filaggrin, the filament aggregating protein in the skin.

This protein determines the shape of the skin cells, which means that when it is lacking they do not fit neatly together like a jigsaw, instead there are gaps in the skin barrier, which makes the skin leaky.

For some people, their body will catch up and will produce more filaggrin as they get older, while for others they have a significant lack of filaggrin for life.

Watch this 'Eczema - Common Triggers & Causes' video to get a full summary on eczema, its causes, types, and treatments:


The Inflammatory Response

This leaky skin barrier due to misshaped cells results in loss of water causing dry scaly skin, but also allows entry of potential allergens into the epidermis.

This is where the allergy side of eczema originates. These allergens in the epidermis then trigger an inflammatory response by the immune system as it “perceives an attack”, which in turn may lead to an allergic response of the skin.

This then results in the immune system overreacting to other triggers such as potential food allergens in the gut, and then a vicious cycle has begun. There is also a potential link to asthma as well owing to this over-sensitized immune system.


Flare-ups - Understanding and managing them

Due to this lack of filaggrin protein, the skin is easily sensitized and simple everyday activities such as sport (sweating), swimming, winter dryness can all irritate the skin leading to flare-ups.

Add to this the problem that your immune system can easily over-react to bacterial infections, colds, flu, food allergies, and even stress, and this can result in a flare-up. So eczema becomes a cycle of the damaged skin barrier, immune overreaction, and flare-ups.

To manage eczema it is a case of learning your triggers for your immune system, knowing that these will change over time and by managing your skin barrier to reduce the loss of moisture and entry of allergens to the epidermis.


The Seven Types of Eczema:

All types of eczema cause itching, dryness, and redness, but some may also cause your skin to blister, “weep”, or peel. It is important to understand which type of eczema you or your loved one may have. Learning about and understanding symptoms and possible triggers can also help how to treat and manage your own or your child’s eczema.

1. Atopic dermatitis

The most common form of eczema and usually occurs in childhood. The symptoms include dryness, scaling, itching, and redness. Atopic dermatitis is first and foremost a result of lack of filaggrin protein resulting in the ongoing cycle described above.

2. Contact dermatitis

Also caused by a lack of filaggrin where the skin has become sensitized to allergens and has an allergic reaction upon contact. Managing contact dermatitis is about avoiding irritants, protecting the skin barrier and reducing the immune sensitization.

3. Seborrheic dermatitis

Commonly known as dandruff is caused by an overgrowth of yeast and the cells on the scalp results in excessive shedding of the cells appearing as white flakes. However seborrheic dermatitis can also occur on the skin such as the face, arms, legs and body and can be mistaken for nappy rash. This type of eczema appears as red, itchy skin and can be so bad it burns.  Infections are also common. Treatment involves the use of specific creams such as antibiotics and salicylic acid to manage the yeast overgrowth and heal the skin.

4. Neuro-dermatitis

Where a person develops a skin irritation due to scratching out of habit.

5. Dyshidrotic dermatitis

Generally caused by seasonal allergies and stress, and results in severe itching, cracking and blisters of the hands and feet.  The use of oral antihistamines and cream to heal the skin is the best way to manage this form of eczema.

6. Nummular (discoid) dermatitis

This is a type of eczema that is circular and can be red and itchy but this varies. The cause remains unknown but can be triggered by an immune response to an insect bite, wound or general inflammation.

7. Stasis dermatitis

Where there has been a decline in blood flow to the legs resulting in dry itchy scaly skin. This is very common in elderly or those with vascular issues. It is critical to keep the skin moisturized to avoid cracking, blistering and the risk of infection.


Important - Identify your type of eczema

While the information given in this post is important, it is also important to note that the best way to be sure whether you or your loved one has eczema is to make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor may refer you on to a dermatologist.

All these different types of eczema can all look similar so you must see a doctor to determine what type of eczema you actually have.

It is critical to understand what type of eczema you have in order to be able to manage it. Treating eczema is about protecting the damaged skin barrier to stop the skin allergic responses and removing as many triggers as possible.


Manage Eczema For You & Your Family With Atopis

We have carefully formulated the Atopis Dry Itchy Skin Cream that helps relieve symptoms, balance your immune response, and repairs your eczema-affected areas.

Atopis Dry Itchy Skin Cream works in synergy with your immune system, so you can stop reacting to allergens and those frustrating environmental triggers mentioned earlier.

Within two weeks of use, this potent, all-natural therapy reverses the cell damage, and hydrates and restores the skin so the itching stops and the healing begins. Everybody's skin microflora is unique, therefore the time it takes for skin to restore itself and heal will differ from person to person.                                                  

Above all, remember eczema is a genetic condition and it is not due to your diet. What works for one person may not work for someone else. Our immune systems are unique to us and it is a case of finding what works for you, your children, or your babies.


Learn More About Atopis Dry Itchy Skin Cream

My incredible skin transformation, thanks to Atopis

Victoria Gamage shares the story of how she regained her skin confidence, by banishing her acne.

“I didn’t get acne until much later in life than many others I know. When I was a teenager I didn't have any acne. My skin was clear, except for one or two spots on rare occasions. It wasn't until I was pregnant with my son at age 23 that acne started to show up, and even then only as little spots around my nose, mouth and chin. As I went through pregnancy and birth with the hormonal rollercoaster of changes that are part and parcel of motherhood, the acne got worse, but I felt like I could mostly manage it.

“After I had my second, a baby girl, things got much worse. From 2014, when she was one, my skin was just out of control. Acne started popping up everywhere: all around my chin, mouth and neck like an ever-growing rash of acne.

“It’s hard to describe how this made me feel. It really was simply awful and had a huge impact on how I saw myself and acted in public. It also meant I was trying to hide how I looked to avoid my acne being spotted. As a wife and young mum to two kids, I lost all my confidence. If I went out I'd always ensure I was wearing a large amount of makeup, even if I was just going down to the local dairy. When I wasn't wearing any makeup I'd walk around with sunglasses and caps on during summer, and would walk with my head dipped downwards to ensure as little as possible of my face could be seen. In winter I'd wear hoodies and scarves folded up around my neck and chin.

“It became quite a big issue for me, and of course, stressing about it made it much worse. Around family and friends, I plastered on my big smile and would just pretend nothing was wrong. But of course they all knew how low I felt about myself.  Unfortunately I turned into a squeezer and picker of spots. Since they hurt it felt better to scratch, and I didn’t realise how much damage I was doing and the lasting scaring I was causing on my face.  During these years, I wouldn't let people take my photo because I didn't want to have pictures with my skin looking so bad. This impacted all kinds of things including photos of special events and family times. I have no photos of my skin when it was at the absolute worst point as I was too ashamed to be in photos.

“I’m not really someone who tries lots of different products. I'd always used an everyday Nivea face cream which seemed okay. From memory, I tried two other acne products, but they didn't work. One fed the acne, making it even worse! The other brought no relief.

“In terms of diet, it didn’t really seem to matter what I did. If I ate lots of junk food the acne got much worse, but I could be eating well for months and it would perhaps just slightly improve, but the acne was still very much there. I was a bit of a stresser: I worried what I looked like to others and so this became a vicious cycle. Honestly, I just gave up on my skin during these years and resigned myself to the idea of having incurably bad skin.

“I actually heard about Atopis through my father! About three years ago he rang me and said one of his colleagues was working with a client who wanted some people to volunteer to test a new product that was supposed to help with skin issues. Dad wondered if I would like to try it for myself, as he knew how terrible I had been feeling about my skin and myself for years. I said yes, as I didn’t have anything to lose. I didn't expect anything to happen, being the sceptic that I was.

“When the Atopis team sent me a small sample pot of their base skin cream, what has today become known as Atopis Radiant Balance Cream, I had absolutely zero hope and expectations. I thought the cream smelt nice, and realised it felt really good on my face when I applied it, but that was it. About three days later I actually looked in the mirror properly. I took notice of the fact that my skin wasn't as red or sore, and my acne wasn't itchy. By the end of that first week, my face felt the best it had done in years! The cracked dry acne was healing so well, and I couldn’t believe I'd had no new blemishes at all since starting to use the cream. The difference really was incredible.

“After that game-changing base cream trial, I tried the acne cream. Both made even more of a difference to my face, smoothing out my skin tone and keeping acne under control. One or two small spots came out, but since using Atopis I've never had anything like what I had for those terrible years, with acne all over my mouth, chin and neck. A couple of years down the track, I tried the radiant balance cream. My skin was incredibly at a point where I was happy with it!

“Although I have some scaring around my chin and mouth, I felt like a massive weight had been lifted. I could walk around with my head up, I'd look people in the eye again, and I'd smile genuinely without worrying what people would think. My confidence was back, and for me that was huge.

“This gift even gave me the confidence to apply for a new job. Working in customer service, your face is of course the first thing that people see. It was such a big shift for me to even contemplate working in a customer-facing role. Now, I’m a sales assistant at a fashion store, it's such a rewarding job to help women to choose outfits for their daily life or a special occasion, and see the smiles on their faces when we find what they need. I'd never have thought about a job like this a few years ago, and I certainly wouldn't have had the confidence to say “Yes” when it was offered to me!

“When my acne started getting better, so did my sleep and overall health, because my skin was less of a worry to me. My acne was and still is stress and hormone activated, and worse during my time of the month. But I can still say to this day I have not had a major acne flare up since using Atopis.

“For those suffering from acne, I’d like to emphasise that these products really have changed my life. It’s taken a HUGE anxiety and stress issue away. No matter how small or big your acne issue is, I really urge you to try Atopis: order a sample pot and just try it! For the relief it gave my skin, I'm sure one of their multiple products will be able to help you too. You've got everything to gain, and only bad skin to lose!

“I want to thank Dr Iona Weir and her team for creating such a wonderful effective product and continuing to improve and create skincare solutions, keeping people like me with problem skin in mind. You've changed my life, and I’m forever grateful.”

When colour matters

When colour makes a huge difference

At Atopis we are often asked about the colour of our skin creams.  Why are they not white, or a standardised colour like other creams?

Many 'natural' skin creams are bleached white or have colour added for a uniform appearance so that they look 'nice and clean', but the reality is, bleaching kills any bioactives or natural benefits the cream may have once contained.

Our creams are typically yellow to beige, because our scientific process does not harm our natural ingredients. (In fact, we enhance the natural bioactive super powers of our ingredients!)

Additionally, if you're wondering why your newest tube of Atopis skin cream is a different colour from the last one, it's because of seasonal variation in our natural ingredients.

Depending on the time of year, the finished skin care product will appear more yellow or beige simply because our ingredients are sourced from nature.We don't add any colouring, the colour you see is exactly what nature gave us.When choosing your skin cream, the benefits of using a powerful cream that becomes bioactive on contact with your skin far outweigh the 'benefits' of the cream looking white or looking exactly the same colour inside every tube you buy.

Explore our scientifically developed natural skincare


Why are some people more prone to Acne?

Part Two: Why are some people more prone to acne?

Acne vulgaris is a skin condition that involves lots of pimples and redness. It's usually seen on the face, but can also occur on the back, chest, and neck – and it can really impact your self-esteem and self-confidence!

We typically associate acne with teenagers, but it can also occur in adults, either persisting from adolescence or beginning later. This is called adult-onset acne, and it can be very frustrating because there is a perception that acne is a problem exclusively for teenagers.

What causes acne?

The causes of acne are not well understood, but we do know a few things. From twin studies and family studies, we know that there is at least some genetic component to acne.

Unsurprisingly, however, genetics cannot take all the blame. Environmental factors like lifestyle and diet also have an effect. You may have noticed this in your own life - certain foods or even stress may trigger break-outs.

Think of it like this: there are certain genetic factors that can make you more or less resilient to acne-causing environmental factors. Someone who is very resilient might be able to eat whatever they like without getting any acne, while someone who is very prone to acne will have acne no matter what foods they cut out.

This graph illustrates how one person might have a lot of genetic factors that predispose them to acne and only have a small amount of control over environmental factors (Person A), while Person C has lots of room to change their environment before they will trigger an acne breakout.

A short version of how acne pimples work is that your pilosebaceous unit (what you might think of as the hair follicle) becomes clogged by over-produced keratinocytes (skin cells), forming a plug in the shaft of the pilosebaceous unit. This leads to a build-up of sebum and dead skin cells in the pore, which in turn feeds some "bad" bacteria. This is a whitehead or black head. When the build-up leaks out of the hair follicle into the lower layers of skin, this triggers an immune response to the bacteria, which causes inflammation and redness. For more information, see Part One: Understanding Acne.

The speed at which keratinocytes (skin cells) in the pilosebaceous unit grow is determined by hormones. Androgens, including testosterone, stimulate faster production of these cells, and affects the way they develop and die, which is what leads to the aforementioned "plugs."

Hormones are funny things, though - because they interact with cells through a signalling system, many different factors within the body and the cells' environments can influence the "strength" of their signalling, and even the content of the message.

Think of the cell (the keratinocyte) as a pond which a pebble (hormone) is dropped into to make ripples (the message). If the pebble is big, it will make bigger waves. If the pebble is a large, flat square, it will make a different pattern to a small, round pebble. The conditions in the pond will also affect the ripples - if there are lots of other ripples, the message will interact with them. So even the effects of the same hormone can vary from person to person and day to day.


Many things in our life can affect our hormones and the effects of our hormones on our body.


Stress is a big one. Of course, puberty affects hormone production, which is why acne is associated with teenagers. But for adults, starting or stopping hormonal contraception, pregnancy, peri-menopause and menopause can all change hormone production - so it's no surprise that some adults get hormonal acne.

Our diet can also influence hormone production - the things that our body converts to hormones usually come from our diet, and sometimes molecules that we ingest are analogous to hormones and can simulate them in our body. One dermatologist suggests that dairy can sometimes simulate an androgen, which is why cutting out dairy can improve acne symptoms for some people.

Maybe acne seems like an insurmountable problem - but it doesn't have to be. By using skincare products and making small lifestyle changes, we can control acne and reduce the symptoms.

As acne is triggered by hormonal changes, trying to reduce these hormone fluctuations in your life can help reduce the symptoms. Reducing stress will influence hormone production, and by eliminating common inflammatory foods to test whether they influence your acne, you may be able to pinpoint some specific triggers.

As mentioned above, dairy is a common culprit. Some other hypotheses relating to diet suggest that increasing consumption of omega-3 fats to balance the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio can improve acne, because it may trigger a change in sebum composition, which can help control acne. It has also been suggested that eating a low glycaemic index diet may help, as it reduces insulin resistance and insulin, as a hormone, affects the way that other hormones function in the body.

But of course, for whatever reason, many people can't change their diet drastically, so addressing acne directly on the skin is a great option.

That's where Atopis comes in.


Instead of killing all the bacteria, Atopis Acne Prone Skin Cream introduces beneficial bacteria (probiotics) to the skin to help regain the necessary balance in the microbiome. It also contains prebiotics, which are food for these bacteria, to help them establish themselves in the microbiome.

Additionally, Dr. Iona Weir’s patented Myrecil® extract is a potent mixture of plant botanicals that helps to regulate the immune response and reduce redness and inflammation. All this goodness is suspended in a rich, moisturizing cream that will leave your skin feeling clear and fresh.

When used in combination with Atopis Thoroughly Gentle Cleanser, which gently clears comedones and allows them to restore to their natural processes, and our Revitalizing Toner, which stimulates the skin to repair itself and helps to rebalance the skin microbiome, our acne treatment cream can help to control nasty acne outbreaks and help your skin return to a naturally healthy state.


Understanding Acne

Part One: How does an acne pimple work?

Understanding how acne pimples form will be key to understanding the best treatments for acne.

Pimples form in something called the pilosebaceous unit, which includes the hair follicle and the sebaceous gland.

The sebaceous glands are filled with sebocytes, cells that make sebum. Sebum is an oily lubricant that helps cells move around and contributes to the protective acid mantle of the skin. These sebocytes are made in the sebaceous gland, and then travel up to the hair follicle, where they release the sebum to lubricate the movement of keratinocytes (skin cells) and growth of the hair follicle.

Keratinocytes make up the internal shaft, forming a roughly cylindrical shape through which the hair grows. Normally, these keratinocytes simply flatten and become hard as they move through their “life cycle."

When they become flat and hard at the end of their life cycle, they break off and move up the shaft to release onto the skin surface, lubricated by the sebum. However, when the keratinocytes grow too fast, they can “stick together” and not be removed to the skin surface properly. This can create a “plug” in the shaft, which means that sebum and dead keratinocytes will build up in the shaft. This is what causes a whitehead or blackhead pimple.

When all this gunk builds up under the surface, it creates anaerobic conditions - conditions where there is no oxygen. This is really good for some opportunistic bacteria that are found on the skin, called Cutibacterium acnes. They multiply rapidly in the pimple, which causes an immune response - i.e. inflammation.

Acne can affect anyone

All people have a community of bacteria and other microbes inhabiting their skin and gut. These communities are called the "microbiome", and they are composed of organisms that are commensal - they don't have any negative effects on us. In fact, many of them have beneficial effects, such as producing antimicrobials that act to kill pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria. When the microbiome is balanced, many different species of bacteria successfully live on the skin’s surface and contribute to healthy skin.

Of particular interest in acne cases are the three bacterial species Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), Cutibacterium acnes (C. acnes), and Staphylococcus epidermis (S. epidermis). Each of these bacteria is a commensal organism that usually has no negative impact on us, but when they grow in excess they can become pathogenic (bad for us).

For example, S. aureus is the species responsible for most impetigo (school sores) infections, while C. acnes is the bacteria found in acne lesions. S. epidermis is a bacteria that is also found on all skin, and it seems to live alongside C. acnes and keep its population in check through producing a particular acid (succinic acid).

In turn, C. acnes and S. epidermis together control S. aureus. There is also some evidence suggesting that particular strains of C. acnes are especially inflammatory, as they are often found in acne patients but not in the skin of unaffected people.

However, there is no evidence that C. acnes infection is the cause of acne; significantly larger populations of the bacteria are not found in acne sufferers - it's just that an excess population of C. acnes, attributed to the build-up of sebum in an oxygenless environment, stimulates an immune response (inflammation).

C.acnes has specific effects on the immune system. Molecules produced by C. acnes, and the bacteria itself stimulates production of inflammatory molecules by the keratinocytes, which causes a disproportionate immune response and inflammation (redness).

This is bad enough when the effects are confined to the pilosebaceous unit, but when the pressure builds up and the bacteria-filled sebum leaks into the epidermis, it triggers an even harsher immune response, causing pain and redness. This is what causes papules or pustules.

This picture shows the different types of pimple mentioned.

To find out why some people are affected by acne while others aren't, watch our for our next post: Why are some people more prone to acne?

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Cravings before your period? Here's why

In the week before your menstrual cycle begins, the hormonal activity begins to fluctuate causing intense food cravings, breakouts, and mood swings. 

When you experience food cravings, it is actually a sign that your body is telling you it needs nutrients! Food cravings spike due to a hormonal imbalance occurring; what's happening is that progesterone and estrogen levels are decreasing, and this is inducing your hunger. 

So why is it that most women get a craving for chocolate?


We crave chocolate just before our periods because at this time our bodies want zinc, and the easiest source of zinc is chocolate. Of course, you can get zinc from fresh veges and especially lettuce, but it's actually easier for our bodies to get it from chocolate.  If you add some salads to your diet a couple of days before period is due, this will help provide the extra zinc your body needs. Or just eat the chocolate!

Chocolate itself is a prebiotic and promotes the growth of probiotic bacteria in your gut. Moderation is the key though, and darker, lower sugar chocolates contain the most health benefits.

Our hormone levels change throughout the month, and just before our period is when our serotonin 'feel-good' hormone levels dip, and our stress hormone 'cortisol' levels spikes. The higher-than-usual cortisol levels start affecting the sebum gland, which is responsible for maintaining oil levels on the skin. The rise in cortisol leads to an increase in oil production which is why just before, or during your period the skin can breakout.

There are some foods which can have an almost immediate effect on skin.  These include probiotics and greasy foods.  If you eat either of these right now, within 2 hours your skin will feel the effects. Probiotics give your skin a healthy glow – and greasy foods can lead to breakouts.


For other foods, it's all about balance.


Soy can actually help your hormones if you eat a little most days.  Soy boosts our estrogen levels, meaning that a little at a time can make us feel great and keep our hormones and skin balanced and healthy. On the contrary eating no soy for weeks and then indulging in a feast of soy protein in one meal can throw our hormones wildly out of balance.

Drinking green tea regularly is really good for your skin. But if you’re not a regular drinker, and then sit down to a full teapot, the green tea will draw out toxins from your body into your skin, resulting in breakouts.

Dairy products can affect hormones as they boost estrogen.  This can throw the whole estrogen/progesterone ratio out, resulting in mood swings, pimples, and inflamed skin. Anything containing sugar is considered an inflammatory food and can alter your hormonal balance and your skin health (as well as your gut health).

Your skin is a living organism with its own unique microflora, so there are some other things you can do to support the health of it:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Eat fermented foods like kefir
  • Include prebiotics such as yoghurts, kombucha or chocolate in your diet (they're great for gut and skin health)
  • Exercise the lymph system
  • Cleanse, tone and moisturize your skin properly, morning and night. Your skincare routine is really important for managing skin conditions!

If you have a genetic predisposition to acne or eczema, maintaining a healthy diet will help but may not solve the problem. Don't beat yourself up if you eat something that causes your skin condition to flare up - we're all human.

Learn more about our skincare products here.

Fighting Cellular Ageing with Pine Bark

Pinus Radiata or pine bark is a powerful antioxidant that heals and repairs sun-damaged skin and fades age spots.

Antioxidants are critical in neutralising free radicals to prevent cellular damage. They're also potent anti-inflammatories, helping to reduce redness associated with eczema, rosacea and sunburn.

Free radicals (including UV, pollution, smoking, excess sugar in diet and stress) are a major contributor to premature skin ageing as they nick DNA, they impair mitochondrial cellular respiration and they induce inflammation due to the release of nitric oxide. When free radicals are in excess they cause skin cell damage, wrinkles and age spots – additionally they're associated with rosacea, acne, lupus and psoriasis.

New Zealand pine bark is a more potent plant extract than other plant flavonoid extracts because it has had to adapt to our ultra-intense UV exposure. Incredibly, the plant has developed enhanced UV bioactive components to protect its own DNA and mitochondria.

Atopis pine bark is even more powerful than the average pine bark extract. The pine bark that we gather is treated through our patented process to enhance all of its natural defence mechanisms, thus making it far more potent and effective on the skin.

Almost 30 years of scientific research has shown our proprietary plant compounds can actually protect your skin cells against UV, pollutant and DNA damage, oxidative stress, inflammation and even promote wound healing. We have demonstrated using in-vitro lab testing that the Atopis pine bark promotes optimal mitochondria respiration and free radical scavenging within skin cells.

Mitochondria are the energy source of our cells. Basically, they protect our cells from incurring damage and re-energize them. If the mitochondria become tired, your skin gets tired. Skin appears lifeless, cell renewal slows down, and your skin doesn't refresh itself as it naturally should. When your cell mitochondria are working optimally, your skin promotes a healthy glow.

We recommend you always use sun protection, and add antioxidants to your diet and skincare for optimal skin health.

Learn more about Atopis Intensive Restore Day Cream – and reap the skin benefits of Atopis pine bark!

The Amazing Kiwifruit

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By Dr Iona Weir PhD
Chief Scientist and CEO
Atopis Skincare

In my early days working as a Scientist I developed techniques that would allow for high-throughput screening of the DNA and biochemistry of individual cells and applied this to kiwifruit breeding.

This meant that when hybrid seedlings were produced the characteristics of the potential fruit could be identified and quickly ascertained to determine the value of the seedlings. My techniques were used extensively within the kiwifruit breeding program including the gold kiwifruit and kiwi-berries.

This technology was also used to identify the bioactive components within kiwifruit and their efficacy.

Of all the fruit, kiwifruit has benefits for the gut and skin that make it a superhero.

Kiwifruit is known as a meat tenderizer and this is due to the protease enzymes which digest protein.

These proteases (which break down the protein in cells) have been shown to increase gut motility (movement), protein digestion and modulate the gut microbiome (Weir et al, 2008).

The kiwifruit extract Phloe I was a part of developing in 2006, is a prebiotic that not only promotes the growth of good gut bacteria, it also inhibits the growth of bad bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli. (Weir Patent No. 2015/0037315).

Kiwifruit has been clinically shown to enhance protein digestion and improve metabolism resulting in decreased fat absorption, lowered cholesterol and reduction in hunger cravings. (Weir et al., 2018).

Kiwifruit is also a potent anti-inflammatory food if you are not allergic to kiwifruit.

Clinical trials have shown that kiwifruit reduces inflammation of the gut by modulating the gut microbiome and regulating signalling receptors on the gut wall (Weir et al., 2018).

Kiwifruit and Your Skin

Kiwifruit is not just amazing for the gut, but also for the skin. Due to the improved digestion and metabolism this reduces excess sebum production and hence acne.

In my later research I discovered that amazingly, kiwifruit also reduces cytokine IL6 in human cells.

Cytokine IL6 is the cellular transduction molecule responsible for the inflammation that causes eczema. (Weir et al., 2008).

A reduction in this cytokine in the body effectively means that we can heal the cause of eczema and at the same time our skin creams soothe and treat the physical symptoms as well - healing the skin from inside the cell and out!

Using the latest biochemistry technique called lipid fractionation technology, I isolated and purified the component of kiwifruit pollen that reduces IL6 and included it in our US patented extract Myriphytase and added it to all of my Atopis skin creams. (Weir US Patent No.  9,877,991).

After I invented Myriphytase, it was clinically trialed in both New Zealand and the USA and shown to help human skin including an improvement in quality of life, an increase in skin quality, a significant reduction in the severity of eczema symptoms, and a decrease in redness, itching, and scaling.

Myriphytase goes into all of our skin creams and like our other 100% natural ingredients, is not made up of mere plant extracts - our scientifically enhanced food grade compounds are clinically shown to benefit human skin.


Weir I, Shu Q, Wei N, Wei C, Zhu Y (2018) Efficacy of actinidin containing kiwifruit extract Zyactinase on constipation: a randomised double-blinded placebo-controlled clinical trial. Asia Pacific of Journal Clinical Nutrition: 27 (3) 564-571.

Weir IE (2008) Zyactinase stimulates the probiotic gut microflora whilst inhibiting pathogenic microflora. International Journal of Probiotics and Prebiotics: 3 (4) 231 – 238.

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All Atopis skin creams contain Myriphytase - choose your product here:

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